Leaders of Wakiso district local government are crying buckets of tears following major budget cuts by the central government. They argue that the budget cuts will affect the operations and proposed development projects by the district thereby affecting service delivery. According to information from district, government has cut its budget from Shs72.9bn in the current financial year to Shs64bn in the coming financial year. Only 16% of the total Budget will be available for development expenditure as 52.2% is for salaries.
According a story carried out by URN, the Wakiso Chief Finance Officer, Michael Ssekandi, says the most affected departments include but are not limited to works and roads, health and water. Ssekandi says the grants to the health department have been cut from Shs3.07bn the last financial year to around Shs615 m in the 2019/2020 financial year. “This will have a very big impact since the district had projected to carry out a number of infrastructural developments in the health department by putting up more structures, which would see health Centre IIs upgraded as directed by the government.
All this among other activities will not be possible as the available money can only cater for one of the proposed 6 health centers,” Ssekandi said. The District Engineer, Samuel Mwesigwa is equally saddened with the ever-shrinking funds from the center despite the fact that government is very much aware about several projects Wakiso had embarked on, which are of importance to the entire Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area. According to Eng. Mwesigwa, the budget for the works department fell from Shs9.5bn in the 2017/2018 financial year to Shs6.6bn in the 2018/2019 and now to Shs4.4bn in the coming financial year.
Mwesigwa says they had embarked on a number of projects but are now considering scaling down the scope of work because of the low budget allocation. “We will have no option than reducing on the work, halt all proposed tarmac projects and concentrate only on maintenance, rehabilitation and emergency works.”
He says they fear that their major project of constructing a road connecting the hard to reach islands of Bussi may as well be affected by the budget cuts yet they had received commitment from other service providers like the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to extend power to the island immediate the road is worked on. “Most of these projects have got timelines and low funding to the works department may end up affecting them. Our people will be the ones to suffer,” Mwesigwa said.
The Wakiso LC V Vice Chairperson, Betty Ethel Naluyima says they have over time petitioned to government to allocate Wakiso more funds given their contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product but their efforts are yet to yield results. Naluyima, who also doubles as the District Finance Secretary, says they had focused on raising local revenue, which they have successfully done with the hope of improving service delivery but their efforts have been thwarted by the budget cuts. According to the budget estimates, local revenue is projected to increase from Shs1.9bn to Shs2.7bn majorly coming from the newly introduced property rates. Naluyima wonders why the district, which largely contributes towards to the National Economy, is allocated peanuts. The 2017 USAID survey shows that Wakiso has the largest GDP per capita standing at $3,250 and contributing over 20.8% to the national GDP. It comes after Kampala which contributes 22.5% and Mukono comes third with 5.3%. For comments, call or text us on 075251225.